On 28 June 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China, as part of the Sharing and Learning on Community Based Disaster Management in Asia Project (CBDM Asia Phase II), co-hosted an Experience Sharing Workshop on Community Disaster Reduction and Relief in Chengdu, China. The meeting, organized in partnership with Department for International Development of the UK (DFID) and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) and brought together governments, pilot communities enterprises, academia, civil society organizations from China, Bangladesh, Nepal and the UK to share ideas and good practices of community disaster reduction and relief and strengthen the community resilience of Asian countries.
Catastrophic events have become more common in recent years causing heavy losses in Asian countries. China is affected by almost all types of natural disaster and its experience has great relevance to other developing countries in Asia, given their shared context: geographical diversity, pressure from a rising population and increasing public expectation of government action to mitigate risk and provide post-disaster support. CBDM Asia Project strives to support resilience building via knowledge sharing and mutual learning between China and other Asian countries threatened by natural disasters, particularly Bangladesh and Nepal.
Based on experience and lessons from the first Phase, CBDM Asia Phase II aims to further strengthen regional south-south cooperation with an applicable community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) focus in the evolving global context. The increasing demands for more innovative, adaptive and affordable technologies call for interactive and transformative ways of mutual learning and sharing among countries, with the engagement of both developing and developed countries. Collectively, enhanced regional cooperation between countries on disaster management will provide more possibilities and platforms for countries and communities to have dialogues, exchange ideas, work together and discuss solutions for common problems and share best practices.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, UNDP China Deputy Country Director Mr. Patrick Haverman welcomed the participation of representatives from UK, China, Bangladesh and Nepal. Encouraged by the stories of recovery from the people living in resilience, Mr. Haverman highlighted the importance of sharing the lessons learnt and the experience gained as they can help people around the world to reduce risks and strengthen resilience. He spoke high of the CBDM Asia project as a platform for the government officials, academia, DM practitioners, CSOs and community representatives to exchange knowledge and experience. Mr. Patrick believed that this workshop would lead to a useful exchange of experience and ideas which would direct the partner countries further in tackling challenges in post-disaster recovery, risk reduction and resilience building.
The Chief Engineer of NDRCC, Dr. Yang Siquan stressed the important role that communities could play in disaster risk reduction. “Natural disasters do not have boundaries”, Dr. Yang said. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 also highlighted the need to enhance the DRR capacity of communities. As countries frequently hit by natural disasters, China, Bangladesh and Nepal have accumulated rich experience in community disaster reduction. Through this experience sharing workshop, China would like to exchange CBDRR experience with other partner countries and lay a solid foundation for future collaboration to enhance community resilience.
Mr. MD Mohsin, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief of Bangladesh, emphasized the need for community involvement in experience sharing of CBDRR through strengthened collaboration. The CBDM Asia project would help to engage more community people in China, Nepal and Bangladesh. An experience sharing workshop bringing together the pilot community representatives from the partner countries, Mr. Mohsin believed, would contribute to the successful implementation of the project and create excellent opportunity for further cooperation with skill sharing.
Mr. Narayan Thapa, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs in Nepal, stated that disaster risks are becoming more and more severe for human life. He briefly introduced the catastrophic Earthquake of Nepal on 25 April 2015, which caused death of 8,979 people. Mr. Thapa highlighted the communities as main actors for disaster reduction and basic units for improving the comprehensive capacity of disaster prevention and reduction. He hoped that during the workshop, the exchange of views and experiences will support the participants to explore new ideas in our field with new modalities which will enable for better Community Disaster Reduction and Relief actions.
Following today’s opening the workshop will continue with a useful exchange of knowledge and expertise and field visits to project pilot communities in Sichuan. UNDP hopes that through such international, multilateral and cross-sectoral community exchange, countries will benefit from each other’s experience with more relevant case setting and advance more effective regional and international cooperation in DRR throughout the process.